1235 GMT December 06, 2019
University of Malaya Medical Center (UMMC) director Prof. Tunku Kamarul Zaman said the disease could be treated if patients were able to identify the symptoms early as it would facilitate the specialist in providing suitable treatment, bernama.com reported.
“It is wrong to think that arthritis is a condition affecting only the elderly people. It can happen to anyone, including the young people and it is harder for those with career because of the pain in their joints.
“Intensive treatment for the ailment is not cheap in Malaysia, it can cost about RM50,000 a year. Hence, the need for those with the symptoms to seek proper treatment with a rheumatologist, including at UMMC,” he told Bernama.
He expressed the need to intensify awareness among the public on the disease and its treatment.
Meanwhile, a consultant rheumatologist at UMMC, Associate Prof. Raja Jasmin Begum said among the early symptoms of arthritis are morning stiffness and pain in the joints, swelling of the joints due to inflammation and spinal pain.
She advised those having the symptoms to seek immediate treatment, adding that non-critical arthritis cases are generally treated using conventional medicine, while biological treatment (genetic engineering application involving proteins that are naturally present in the body) is used for critical cases.
“Conventional medication is usually in the form of oral tablets. If it does not work, the patient will be treated with biological medicines, either orally or by injection, but, this is very expensive,” she said.
According to Jasmin Begum, UMMC receives and treats nearly 2,400 out-patients for arthritis annually and about 200 of them require biological treatment.
“About 70 percent of our patients are in the 30s to 50s age group. This is a major concern for us as they are mostly from working-class and their family are dependent on them,” she said.